Sunday, July 31, 2005

I'm packed and ready for an art show.

Everything is even in the car. Ready to go. My god, I'm leaving town for the FIRST time this summer! Could that be right? No, it is not right. It is very very wrong.

Nonetheless, I have a pile of paintings, a bag of clothes, and a bag of books. A trip to the cities has never felt so exciting (oh how pathetic am I).

Tomorrow morning I look forward to waking up, making coffee, taking Anu for a long long walk and then hittin' the road. My little wolfie is going to spend the next 3 days at a kennel. She's never been away overnight before, but I've packed her bed, a ham bone, and plenty of rawhide. Am I babying her too much? ha! Never. I don't think I should ever be a mother. It's hard enough leaving the dog for christsakes!

ok... but there are bugs crawling all over my computer screen... moths, knats, mosquitoes. I think it's time to call it a night.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Old Woman with a Chrysanthemum

One day, a week or so ago, I talked to a very old woman. A stranger. She had long white hair, walked with a cane and carried with her a yellow potted chrysanthemum. During the course of our conversation she said that her astrologer told her that July will be a very bad month for everybody. For me, bad means: no writing, no house selling, no money (not to mention, no smoking). It also means the cat is sick and I hope he makes it through tomorrow because it will be August and then maybe, just maybe, everything will work out.

According to the stars and planets @

You now enter the calm before the storm. Psychic war clouds are gathering on the horizon as Venus nears a polarity to Uranus and Mars locks horns with Saturn. Both of these turbulent sky patterns will materialize tomorrow, but there are definite hints of their presence on day one of the weekend. Before you have to confront a wide array of challenges, enjoy visiting art galleries, bookstores or museums. Your creative and artistic powers feel rejuvenated by a Venus-Mars parallel at 10 degrees north of the Celestial Equator (11:09AM PDT). Romantic partners can also enjoy a loving experience close to this time or make sparks fly if the big chill has been recently intervening in their affairs. Inventive notions and intuitive promptings are flying fast during a Moon-Pallas trine in air signs (3:18PM PDT) supplemented by the Moon in Gemini aligning with Jupiter in Libra (8:40PM PDT). Be extra sensitive to dear ones this evening as celestial mischief makers prepare to wreak havoc on earthlings during the next 24 hours. Offer a healing massage to someone overwhelmed by stressful circumstances beyond their control.

It's not over yet. God, I can't wait until Monday.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Thirteen hours and two horrible paragraphs later-- she is about to come undone.

Day 3 and they haven't divorced.

It is hereby the third day of no smoking. Vinny and I quit at the same time. And this, if anything, is the true test of our marriage. Only one blow-up yesterday, but nothing that an hour long walk with the dog didn't fix.

Moving on, I'm trying not to drink too much coffee (another love of my life besides cigarettes) because one begets the other. Oh but I feel so goddamn healthy I could puke.

Yeah, moving on. This morning I'm about to grapple my way out of the hole I've fallen into with writing (that is, storytelling). I have a three page essay that I've been staring at for a week trying to change it from a nauseaum of abstract imagery into a story that actually says something (although I have several of these to work with). Since Monday I've been pacing from the computer, to the bed, to the bookshelf, to the coffee shop, to the... (you get the point). I've been waiting for an epiphany. It hasn't come. I think there's a really brilliant idea out there, but it's hidden in a pack of cigarettes that I can't have.

So instead I'm embarking on a new mission... and that is to start over, to tell the story again, but in 3rd person. This is V.'s brainchild, to distance myself from the story. Such a wise man. I will become she... because when it comes down to it, I don't want anything to do with myself right now anyway.

She's going to start now. Goodbye.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Henna Hands

My newest obsessive-compulsive doodle paintings.
(sorry--image detail is disappointing)

acrylic and ink on paper

acrylic and ink on paper

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Sometimes I like to daydream that my life is different. Not that I'm not happy, maybe just easily bored. I like occasional change, and lately my life has been lacking them. So today as I was driving home I started thinking about living in Bemidji. I was daydreaming about living in a rented house with a fenced-in yard. Anu was contentedly gnawing on a rawhide out on the back step. I painted the kitchen lime green. The cabinets were white and there was a bright yellow oncidium orchid in the window sill. The living room was warm with books and rugs and even cable tv. I had a writing room that I was still undecided on the color. blah blah blah... on it went. For some reason, in my daydream, living in town gave me a lot more time. Time to write, time to take the dog hiking in the woods, time to go places like Duluth or Minneapolis or Winnipeg or where ever I wanted to go on a whim. Not to mention, I drove a reliable car.

In my daydream, life was much much simpler. When I wrote bills it only took 4 check blanks: rent, phone, electricity, and car insurance. Not the 12 I sent out today. In my daydream I had money to buy books and clothes and a bed that doesn't leave my husband and I with abnormally formed spines.

But in my daydream, there isn't a beautiful little deer grazing just beyond the window I look out as I write. And damn it! (softly playing music screeches to a halt)--life gets complicated again.

That's it. Enough dreaming. I'm going to watch a movie.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

bad combination:

too much caffeine + not enough nicotine = midnight snack.

Home Sweet Home

hmmm... it's been pretty quiet around here. Deathly quiet. The real estate market seems to have died. I'm considering it "buying-time-to-win-the-powerball" (now I guess I need to start actually buying them). With nice cool weather like this, who wants to leave anyway? (except for Canada of course.)

Monday, July 25, 2005

I'm leaving the country.

August 5th I'm headed for the Canadian Rockies with my sister and her family. Last time I was through there was on a freight train. Mountains so tall that we had to lean out the window and crane our necks upward. Incredible. This time however I will be making the trip in a mini-van, but as a consolation we'll spend the first night in high-class heaven. Then further north, deeper into the mountains where I could happily get lost. I'll spend the next week camping in oh-so-thin mountain air.

Since I'm positive that it will be impossible to do any writing due to the constant companionship of my 4 and 6 year old niece and nephew, I've decided that I'll dedicate the time to doing some artwork-- a painting a day, a project I started earlier this summer, but fell off the wagon. But I've never packed art making supplies for travel. Ohmygod, what should I bring?! There's limited space. Watercolors? Acrylic? Pastels? Oil pastels? The problem is that the only thing I know how to use well is oil paints. But they are messy, toxic, and not a possibility. Which reminds me-- I might as well bring along enough to share with the kids. They are artists too. Serious artists. I'm not kidding. It's amazing what montessori school will do for the creative intellect. fuck-- I don't even know how to spell it (had to look it up).

Ok, so here's my chance to expand my artistic repertoire. I'm going to use materials I don't know how to use for a subject I know nothing about. Landscapes.

I don't know what to look forward to more--the mountains, that lodge, or traveling art!
10 days and counting.

Since it's raining...

...I have big plans for today including staying home, drinking lots of tea with cream and sugar, and writing. It's a dark day filled with thunder and lightening. A candle burns on my desk, music plays oh so soft. I'm home alone with two sleeping cats and a sleeping dog. Conditions are perfect.

I have eight days to write 20 pages creative nonfiction, 10 pages of literary reflection, and 8 poems. Reading more might not happen. Enough reading for now. I have only one thing left to do and that is write. The rest is only a distraction.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


a new look. i have my husband to thank for his web-savvy talents. gosh, it feels as good as starting a new journal...or putting on new socks...or new underwear...or......................

Saturday, July 23, 2005

8:57 pm: waiting for magic

I thought I had something to say. hmmm... but I guess not.

I think I need coffee. Strong coffee.

Anyway, I broke down and bought a porcelain cup today, handmade by the Husbys... only because it is blue, blue on the outside and black on the inside and has strange looking hieroglyphics on it. I'm quite sure they are ancient or alien symbols holding magical qualities that if filled with coffee, cream, and sugar will give me the vision needed to write. I hope it works. If not, I'm going to have to start taking vitamins.

Friday, July 22, 2005

dumb dogs and lazy writers

I just returned home, unloaded groceries and checked my faculty e-mail for the first time in a month. After deleting a 130-odd junk mails I got an incredible (although momentary) craving for my dark HS office where I spent the last year hunched over my computer in the glow of 60 watt lamp-light all those early mornings. Look at me-- it's my first day of "freedom" and already I am craving structure. Or maybe just darkness. Fall. Cool weather. Summer's nice, but I'm hot and am going to tear my hair out if another deer fly nestles itself next to my scalp.

As for everything I said I was going to do today... I did all of it. Everything except eat a cheese omelet and write. oops. Well, the day's not over. I haven't given up on myself yet.

First, I'm off to turn my country wolf into a city dog. I bought her a 26 foot retractable leash. Tonight's entertainment includes taking her for a walk and watching her try to make sense of it. ha! This should be interesting. She's only a 25 watt bulb.
But that reminds me... this morning she walked with me down to the mailbox. At the end of the driveway is an ERA "For Sale" sign that Vinny mowed around yesterday to make it more visible. Anu (the wolf) just about jumped out of her skin when she saw it. She barked for a solid 5 minutes before giving up. Is she trying to tell me something?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Is this a good idea or what?!

Jim Mott travels around the United States creating paintings in exchange for hospitality. Brilliant!

(Photo credit goes to Jim Mott)

Periodically over the next few years, I will be working as an itinerant painter, traveling through various parts of the United States by car, staying with a series of hosts, painting landscape studies wherever I go, and trading artwork (small paintings) for hospitality (2-4 days room and board).

The Itinerant Artist Project (IAP) officially got under way on March 30, 2000, when I set out on a cross-country drive to visit people and places in about 30 locations--from the Chesapeake Bay to the >California coast--where I’d been invited to paint.

Dear Blog, how I've missed you...

...because it feels like I've been away a long, long time.

Oh, but it feels so good to be back (cosmically speaking). I'm hereby done with summer classes. Well, not completely. I still have independent study work to do... but no more classes. My plan from here to August 5th is to kick ass (kick my own ass) and write, write, write. That is the reason, after all, that I am not working this summer. Remember Jessie? Oh yeaaaaah.

No, but really... it's been a great 3 weeks of poetry. We had a good group of people under all the right conditions and I can't complain about a thing. Not a thing. It feels good to be writing again. And although it hasn't been happening here on my blog, it has been happening. And if you can believe it, I'm even starting to feel NORMAL again. And by normal I mean that I am returning to my true abnormal self. I won't bother explaining, but if you know me, you know what I mean.

My plans for tomorrow?
Get up early (relatively speaking), put on some comfy cargo pants, tee-shirt and flip-flops, eat a cheese omelet on the porch with a cup of coffee, say goodbye to my husband, then off to my new favorite hangout-- the coffee shop where I'm anonymous (sorry, I can't tell you where it is) to write the morning away! After that I'll eat lunch and go to the studio to finish the last painting for my show.
Oh god, did you hear that?? A day filled with only writing, painting, and food! Can it get any better?!

Ahh-- it feels good to be alive. Finally. I haven't felt this way in a damn long time.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Recipes for poor people (instead of working on my paper):

When Vinny's at work I live an exotic life. Since I am poor, tonight it involved cabbage.

Here's my new creation. It was good. Believe me. Oh, so good.

The Goulash:
1/2 a head of cabbage
1 zucchini
3 green onions
2 tomatoes
1 carrot
1 fresh whole cayenne pepper
fresh basil
minced garlic
a little chicken stock
vindiloo (a type of curry probably available at your local co-op)
a pinch of cinnamon
a bit of lemon juice (not too much)

Note: You may use any combination of ingredients you see fit to experiment with from your refrigerator or spice cabinet. Mystery is part of the adventure!

The Rice:
1/2 onion-cut and fried until soft in a small amount of oil
then add the rest which includes...
1 cup water
1/2 cup rice (basmati or jasmine)
a pinch of saffron
a pinch of fennel
2 pinches of curry

Cook until done. Serve all mixed up together in a big white bowl. Eat slowly. Blog. Procrastinate as long as possible.


Sunday, July 17, 2005

here we go again...

...trying to write another paper. maybe it's too close to the full moon for this kind of activity.

1 page down. 19 to go. I need, very badly, to break outside of myself and my monkey-caged mind.

Monday, July 11, 2005

you just never know

The house hits the market tomorrow. Hence, I only felt slight stress (understatement) when a realtor called and wanted to show it within an hour. I've never cleaned so fast in my life. We were almost ready anyway, but the operative word is "almost." It's amazing what one can accomplish when pressure is applied.

House sparkling and smelling fresh, I loaded Anu in the truck and off we drove to give our potential buyers more freedom to look around in peace without me standing behind them jabbering like an idiot. The mosquitoes are nasty little bastards so rather than go down to the river or drive to a nearby lake, we drove to town and ended up at my dad's where wolfie was fed venison for dinner, and I, a glass of wine. Who knows... this place might last even LESS longer than I thought. I try not to get my hopes up either way which fits well considering the concocted brew of emotions I experience on a daily basis.

Stress aside... today's commotion is a good sign.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

No theory...

I had forgotten how poetry, like painting, causes me to see the world differently--in color, depth, and texture. A steep ditch becomes a crinkled abyss; the hot wind haze becomes Rajasthan, the bottom of the ocean, the reason for discontent.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Not For Sale By Owner

That is, today I signed the papers. I chickened out and now have a realtor handling all the sticky complexities of selling a house. It will be on the market by Monday. To be honest, I can't believe this is actually happening, but surprisingly I feel oddly ready and a little bit relieved. I might not feel the same the day it sells and I have to move out. But for now I will accept the feeling I have that everything is going to work out. I had temporarily forgotten how strange life can be.

This is the part where the universe opens up and everything spontaneously falls into place. Today I felt it. And I know it's going to happen.

It always does.

Wanted: fast-acting lung cleansers

Audrey and Renee make me want to smoke.

Monday, July 04, 2005


The "things to do" list still needs to be done. I mean, the rest of it anyway. But this morning I slept in due to grey skies and several late nights. I don't want to do anything. Oddly enough I am inspired to spend the day writing poetry. L. showed us a great book when we met for coffee and words. Yes, I enjoyed the company and ideas immensely. I'm glad this writers group finally got off the ground-- and in perfect company. Poetry has gotten away from me over the past couple years. I've begun to realize how little I know, that it's time to move forward with writing. Anyway, I'm tired of "to do" lists.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

cliche in action...

You know the one-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all...

Earlier today I got up to mow the lawn. The mower broke last week so we got it fixed, finally got it home only to find out that they put the wrong size blades on it. So we went to town to borrow another mower (and a vehicle, since ours is in the repair shop) and on the way back got a flat tire on the trailer. But worse... I just broke the handle on the toilet. Now it won't flush.

Bad karma.
Yeah, I'm ready for a new season.

The old flatbed red and a dog named Abe

I'm beginning to realize just how fast summer is going by. This thought crossed my mind tonight (not that it hasn't before) as my husband and I drove home from dinner at the Douglas Lodge. As we drove past hills, valleys, the Mississippi, through the dips and arcs of the landscape I started thinking about all the reading I want to do in preparation of this fall's class. I like the idea of being prepared. An idealistic, but worthwhile concept... in theory. But soon the summer will be over. We have an appointment with the realator this week to figure out the market value of our house. We'll have it up for sale within the next couple days. 2nd session of summer school begins Tuesday. Then in August I have an art show in Mnpls. and a 10 day trip to Banff (Canadian Rockies) with my sister and her family as nanny/auntie. Then it will (hopefully) be time to find a new place to live and move if the house sells quickly. There is it. My summer come and gone in a nutshell.

And I'd be sad that it's going so quickly. But in a way I guess I'm not. It's been a fucked up, hard, long summer already. Tonight coming home we drove past a place that has rusty old, but classic trucks parked in a field with a homemade "for sale" sign. I cried when we drove past because I always wanted the red flatbed truck. For me and my old dog Abe. I used to dream long dreams of getting that truck and spending whole days driving down country roads together with the windows down, just me and him. I miss that dog so damn much, there aren't even words.